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Manhattan: 1908

Manhattan: 1908

New York circa 1908. "Brooklyn Bridge and Manhattan skyline." 8x10 inch dry plate glass negative, Detroit Publishing Company. View full size.


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Clear across

What always strikes me in old views like this is how easy it used to be to see all the way across Manhattan and the Hudson to the hills of New Jersey.

From the same spot today, those hills are just a rumor.

The effect is even more pronounced in similar views of far uptown, which remained almost completely unbuilt until well into the age of photography.

Signs of the Times

I spotted a couple of ubiquitous ads on the buildings. The first, to the right of the Bridge Tower appears to be above the "Moens (?) Old Metal" sign, is the partial signature of Charles H. Fletcher, the seller of Fletcher's Castoria, a digestive cure-all. His autograph was on countless walls throughout the city. The other appears to be to the right of the Fletcher's and just above the Roadbed, visible through the suspension cables is a "Postum" sign. Postum was a coffee substitute, a mix that was hot water soluble and caffeine free. It was first sold in 1895 and discontinued in 2007. The drink was named for its manufacturer C.W. Post. The company, Post Foods, was at the end, a division of Kraft Food. The Long Island University Nassau County Campus, C.W. Post College, is named in his honor, after his daughter, Marjorie Merriweather Post, who was also Mrs.E.F. Hutton, donated her palatial estate to them.

Two Norwegians

Actually, there are two Norwegians in the picture. Both the boat and the man carrying the huge fish is from the Land of Ice and Snow. In the city of Bergen in Norway, there was this man who earned his pay delivering fish in that fashion, carrying them over his shoulders. He inspired an artist to paint the fish man as we all now him. These things means a lot to us Norwegians, you see.


That's fascinating about the painting matching 'Scott's Emulsion'.

Those were the days, back when artists were employed to paint things by hand. I notice nowadays they're using giant inkjet printers to print billboards on plastic.

I doubt if those will ever pass the test of time though.


Awesome photo! The freighter in the center of the photo appears to be flying the Norwegian flag. With the "H" on the funnel, it should be possible to at least identify the name of the shipping line, and then possibly the individual ship.

A land of opportunity

What you might call a city bustling. I particularly love the detail of the canopies at the foot of the bridge pillar.

Utter Beauty

Has anyone seen such a beautiful shot? The detail, it's magnificent! I am speechless. And in the center, the crowning glory of the photo, is the Brooklyn Bridge! I am awed. Thank you so much for uploading this image!


Roebling's masterpiece may today be eclipsed by the many other bridges and taller buildings of lower Manhattan and Brooklyn. This photo shows the magnificence of the bridge when it was young.

Scott's Emulsion

As soon as I laid eyes on that photo, I spotted that huge ad for "Scott's Emulsion" on the building in the center. I was sure I had seen that ad before ... But where ? And then it clicked.

I live in Belgium, and my grandparents live in a small town south of Brussels, where an old chemist shop still has its front wall covered with old ads painted on tiles. And one of them is that very same ad for the Scott's Emulsion. The chemist shop recently had their front wall classified as historic monument.

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